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Hawaiian girls retain relay title

Saturday 27 November 2010 | Published in Regional

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The Big Island Girls crew from Hawaii have retained the Round Raro relay Pacific Paddle trophy after a thrilling sprint finish in Avarua harbour yesterday.

Big Island Girls, Lara’s Lot from New Zealand and the Makana Alii crew from Hawaii battled toe-to-toe for most of yesterday’s open women’s Round Raro race, which headed clockwise around the island from Avarua.

The three front runners established their lead over the chasing bunch early on in the race and by the time they reached Papaaroa, the Big Island Girls pulled ahead to take a slim lead ahead of Lara’s Lot in close second and Makana Alii in third.

And while they battled for open women’s glory, ahead of them leading the race was local club Te Tupu O Te Manava under 19 men’s crew who were only out for a bit of fun.

While they took out the race in 3.04.01 – all eyes were on the three open women’s crew tussling behind them.

A crucial error by Lara’s Lot, during one of their final changeovers, saw three paddlers jumped out of the canoe only to be replaced by two. This probably cost them some time but they showed their true class in catching up again with the Big Island Girls.

The two crews were stroke for stroke in the last 500m of the race with Lara’s Lot taking the inside lane turning into Avarua harbour.

But the Big Island Girls were determined to retain their Pacific Paddle champion’s title and they dug deep to cross the line first – only seven seconds ahead of Lara’s Lot.

Big Island Girls clocked a time of 3:08:05 – just a minute slower than their 2009 race.

Already celebrating winning the race overall was the Te Tupu junior men’s crew who finished with an impressive time of 3:04:01.

Three minutes after Lara’s Lot (3:08:12) – Makana Alii wrapped up their race in 3:11:33) to take out third place in the open women’s division.

Master women’s crew Mana Kokiri from New Zealand were fourth overall and first master crew home (3:13:34) followed by Team Curry from Australia in fifth overall to take out the senior master women’s division in 3:14:37.